How to Talk to Your Pets

Buddies Pokey and Rocky

 If you have pets, you know how fun and enlightening a  conversation with them can be.

     My twenty-pound, orange and white cat, Rocky (shown above hugging his buddy, Pokey)clambers onto  the  love seat while I’m reading. His nose nudges my hand.  “Meowrrr?” he says.

     “What’s that, Rocky?”

     “Meowrrr?” he says again. He probably thinks I should have listened the first time, and then he wouldn’t need to repeat himself.

smiling cat

I force my gaze from the book to scratch his head. His amber eyes glisten with joy. I once read in a mini-paperback while waiting at the checkout counter that cats hear high tones better than low ones.

I want to make sure Rocky knows I care, so I raise my voice three notches.  “What’s goin’ on today?” I squeak.

“Meow,” he says, closing his eyes. Is he disgusted at my Minnie Mouse talk, or in kitty heaven?

Just to make sure, I switch to baby talk. “Tell me all about it, Rocks. I know you understand these things.”

He purrs, and arches his back. Good—it’s kitty heaven. “Meow,” he answers.

“That’s wonderful,” I chirp, “I’m so glad to hear it.” I return to my book, still petting him in an absent-minded fashion. “You are so wise. You amaze me every time we talk.

dog looking at man pixabay

Dog owners tell me that words are unnecessary—their canine pets can read moods and communicate with their eyes and body language. The owner of a pot-bellied pig used in therapy claims the little porker can help patients overcome depression. The day of my brother’s funeral, my uncle’s talking macaw gave me a huge release from my grief by making me laugh.

I might one day consider owning these other types of pets. But I’d hate to lose that unique ability to communicate with my cats in their own language.

Heart of Humor Final front cover

The above slightly-exaggerated story is an excerpt from my book, The Heart of Humor: Sixty Helpings of Hilarity to Nourish Your Soul.  

Do you have pets? How do you talk to them? 

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5 Ways to Fight Dementia and Alzheimer’s

5 Ways to Fight Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Did you know you can avoid and fight dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? The Alzheimer’s Association recommends four simple ways to circumvent these demonic maladies, and I have added one of my own:

1. Keep active physically. Exercise and physical activity that increases your heart rate maintains healthy blood flow to your brain, cheering on the growth of new brain cells.


2. Eat like a healthy person. Low-fat, low-cholesterol
diets right in antioxidants like colorful fruits and veggies, grilled fish, oatmeal, beans, yogurt, turkey, leafy greens, garlic and nuts can contribute to lowering cholesterol, which helps fight Alzheimer’s.

3. Stay socially involved. If you interact with others regularly, your stress levels may stay lower than those who are loners. Lower stress levels contribute to healthy connections among brain cells.


4. Keep doing mental chin-ups. Read a book on a topic you’ve never studied before, work harder
Sudoku or crossword puzzles than you’re accustomed to, play a challenging game such as Scrabble or Dizzios, and have a stimulating, analytical conversation with a close friend. These activities stimulate and exercise the brain and may even create new nerve cells.

5. (mine) Talk for life, not death. The writer of Proverbs says,

 “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” If you lose your car keys or forget your favorite uncle’s name, instead of saying, “Oh, I guess I’m getting Alzheimer’s,” say, “I will find those keys-Lord, please lead me to them,” and “I know I know his name; it will come to me.”

Use the power of words to your advantage, to strengthen your brain, not weaken it. Don’t buy into the popular idea that you have to go downhill mentally as you age. Think positive, eat and act positive, and speak words of faith over your brain, and you will fight dementia and Alzheimer’s and WIN!


Which one of these dementia-overcoming tips are you going to implement into your life today? 

Inner Conflict? Now What?

stressed-mouse

Several times during breakfast today, my husband Kevin checked out of our conversation and stared into an unknown region of his mind. “Are you okay?” I said. He told me he was fine, but there was simply too much going on in our lives right now. No wonder . . .

  • Our daughter’s car was in the repair shop and Kev had assumed the role of chauffeur for getting her to work and her three kids to their schools.
  • Two members of the congregation he pastors were in different hospitals with serious health challenges.
  • His turn to take my 92-year-old mom for her monthly eye injection–a major undertaking–was  coming up in a few days.

Everyone has problems. The issues above represent outward circumstances that need our attention. But what happens when the problems we wrestle are inside us? 

inner turmoil brain overwhelmed_pixabay

  • We have conflicts or communication issues with family members and friends
  • We don’t understand ourselves–we do and say things that baffle or bother us
  • We have fears, doubts, and confusion that tie our brain in knots

These are inner conflicts, not as easily solved as the outward issues. But neither are they impossible to get through. With God’s help, some time, and work, we CAN overcome all the turmoil inside us. We CAN live in victory. Here are a few places to start:

Cast your cares upon the Lord Jesus with man

  • Talk to God about what bothers you. Get alone, get quiet, and ask hard questions. WHY do I behave like this? HOW can I overcome this habit? WHAT is the root of this fear? It may take some time to hear the answers, and we may need to revisit our issues many times. That’s okay. God wants to help us more than we need help.
  • Read, read, read–in the Bible, online, and in books and magazines that address the inner conflict you’re experiencing. Discover how others found solutions to their problems. Educate yourself. Open your mind to the sweet possibility that you don’t have to live with this turmoil.
  • Create a Support System, whether a few close friend to confide in and ask for prayer help, a trained counselor, a 12-step program, or a trustworthy pastor. When we surround ourselves with others who are willing to help, we gain hope for positive change. We begin to see ourselves, rather than victims, as victors.

lady.praying.DanielReche

Have you experienced inner conflict lately? What are you doing to help God help you overcome? 

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Bad Advice on Love, Relationships, and Health

Need some adviceBad AdviceWe’ve all received it:

       “Marry the first man or lady you fall in love with. You’ll save time. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always get a divorce.”

It’s better to say what you think than to stuff your feelings, even if you hurt someone. It’s just as bad of a sin to think something than it is to say it.”

You only live once. You may as well eat whatever you like. You have to go sometime; why not go happy?”

What is the secret to sorting out the bad advice? How do you respond to tacky, even harmful suggestions by well-meaning or misguided people?

Bible.starburst.charlotte         First. pray and seek God’s will in his word, the Bible. Of course, the Scriptures aren’t going to have detail about what color car to purchase or what town to move to. But they contain God’s life, so reading them will prime your mind to think His thoughts.

         Second, ask someone who’s had more life experience than you have, especially if the matter involves a relationship or the outcome of your future. The more input we receive from godly, wise sources the more likely we are to make excellent choices.

       Third and last, read as much as you can about the topic at hand. With the plethora of information available to us at a keystroke, there’s no reason to not inform ourselves of all the knowledge we can.

Have you ever received Bad Advice on Love, Relationships, and/or Health? How did you respond? 

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Low-fat Caramel Bars for Fall Baking

Golden Goodie bars

Would you rather cook, or bake? If you said “Bake,” you might enjoy this recipe for low-fat caramel bars, one of our favorites for fall.

Each 2”x 3” square contains only 2 grams of fat, and it’s a breeze to put together.

I sometimes add oatmeal or chocolate chips*, but my husband likes these caramel bars just as they are–simple and yummy.

Golden Goodie Bars

2 ¼ cups of Bisquick® or other baking mix

1 ½ cups brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend baking mix, eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Stir until mixed well. *
  3. Spread dough in greased and floured (or sprayed with non-fat cooking spray) oblong pan, 13 x 9 x 2. I like to sprinkle fall colored cake decorations on top before baking, to give it a festive look.
  4. Bake about 30-35 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

*You can blend in 1 cup of chopped nuts, coconut, or chocolate chips, but this will add to the fat content.

kids baking

This is a fun, fast recipe for little ones to help with, since it only has four ingredients, and it’s nearly impossible to ruin!

Do you have a favorite fall recipe that your family loves?

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Hope for Your Self-image

cat bad hairAs I curled my wayward hair this morning to prepare for a speaking gig, I heard myself say, “I have too much product on my hair to expect it to curl the right way,” and “my hair is too long.” Worse yet, I caught myself thinking, “Will anyone listen to me if my hair looks ugly?”

OOPS! I need to read my own book, Hello, Beautiful! Finally Love Yourself Just As You Are. Although I’m the principle author, I wrote it as much for me as for anyone.

Hello, Beautiful cover

Women in our society wrestle with feeling good about ourselves in spite of our size, shape, and social status. This is why I and co-author Beth Gormong, wrote Hello, Beautiful! From the introduction:

We want to see women take Jesus’ words so seriously that they are set free from the erroneous thinking that they are never good enough, they must be perfect to be loved, and that skinny equals pretty. We want to help women break free of faulty teaching and bask in the reality of God’s high esteem and deep love for them, so they can love themselves without guilt or shame. If women catch the Master’s meaning of true love, starting with themselves as precious ones made in Gods’ image, there will be no end to what they can achieve to make this world a lovelier place.

            Because once women realize a truth and act on it, no power in earth or hell can stop them.

“Forgive me, Lord, for criticizing myself and for thinking You can’t use me unless I look perfect. Help me see and love myself the way YOU do: with forgiveness, grace and kindness.” 

We need to improve, that’s the truth. But if we accept and love ourselves, we’ll improve faster. Do you love yourself just as you are? 

lady.praying.DanielReche

Look in the mirror today and say, “Hello, Beautiful!”

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How are “Ouch!” & “Thank You” Related?

Ouch free image  “Ouch!” and “Thank you” are rarely used in the same sentence, unless we’re receiving an immunization or a chiropractic adjustment. But I recently discovered how “ouch” and “Thank you”
are related. 

A few years ago in a brave moment I asked the Lord to show me places in my life that needed to change. Almost immediately, I wanted to tell God, “Just forget it!” But he remembered. And he started showing me things like:

  • Pride (Isn’t this life all about me?)
  • Selfishness (I want what I want when I want it)
  • Gluttony (Not always food, but shopping, TV, talking)

And many other ugly elements of my soul that made me say “Ouch!” But as I’ve prayed, wept over my sins, repented (again and again, sometimes daily), I’ve reached the place where I can finally say “Thank You!”

thank you kid with bow tie

Thank you, Lord, for:

  • Helping me see where I need to change
  • Giving me the power to say “NO” to old habits
  • Providing me with the grace to start fresh every day and develop new habits.

One of the best, most hopeful things about being “In Christ” is the freed from from having to sin. Because Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit, we have the same power Jesus had to say, “Get behind me, Satan!” I love that. 

Even on days when I see ugly places in my heart that are far from perfect, I can also say Hope“Thank You.” Because the same God who shines his light of gentle conviction also pulls me up with his mighty hand, enabling me to stand tall and victorious.

Have you experienced an “Ouch/Thank you!” moment recently?

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